One World

I was not planning it at all but something happened yesterday that made me write this post. During a meeting at work, one of my colleagues described a software application which is not in a stable, working condition and has too many bugs to be usable, as “third-world class”. He thought it was the funniest joke ever, but if you would have seen me at that time, I’m sure you would have seen smoke coming out of my ears.

I don’t know what it is with the term “third world” that drives me crazy. I understand it is just an economic term assigned to a group of countries at a certain economic level in the world. I realize that most people don’t mean to be offensive when they use it, but I still find it derogatory, especially when used in a context like my colleague used it. I wanted to tell him at that very moment that “Dude, do you have any idea how many doctors and engineers and lawyers this third world country of mine supplies to the whole world?”. But of course, I kept quiet and even tried to laugh with everyone at the joke.

On second thoughts, maybe I took it too personally. After all, that statement is partially true. There are a lot of things about my country that I’m not really proud of, but I certainly don’t want anyone rubbing it in my face. There are many other things that the world can learn from the “third world” countries and categorizing anything poor or low quality as “third world” comes across as ignorant at best in my opinion.

So what are your thoughts on this? Do you think my anger was justified or do you think I overreacted? If you’re not comfortable presenting your thoughts in the open, feel free to leave an anonymous comment. I would love to hear from you.